Loving Discipline Instead of Drugs
By Kevin R. Jones
As soon as he gets up in the morning, till he goes to bed at night, he is non-stop motion. I get tired just watching him. Someone described boys as “all rocket and no rudder.” That fits my older son to a tee; he is all action and no judgment. His hyper-activity and the school-wide use of drugs was one of the reasons we decided to homeschool.
The use of Ritalin is up 500% in the last decade. Some estimators believe the number of kids using Ritalin everyday is approaching 4 million. “Some observers call the drug the new K-12 management tool.” “The United Nations released a report in February of 1996 expressing concern over the discovery that 10 percent to 12 percent of all male school children in the United States currently take the drug, a rate far surpassing that in any other country in the world.” My children don’t need a drug that is similar to cocaine. They need their parents.
Parenting is a long-term project. Short cuts lead to disaster. Primary responsibility for raising kids is placed on the shoulders of parents (Deuteronomy 6:7). Being a good parent, like anything else, takes practice. This is especially true for those kids who are very busy. Before Ritalin was invented, kids achieved great things. Many of our country’s founders graduated from college while still in their teens. Could it be that their parents controlled them till they learned to control themselves?
One of the fruits of the Spirit is SELF-control. God is working in me to develop self-control. It is my job as a parent to display self-control. This is certainly easier said than done. As I attempt to model self-control for my children, even in the disciplining process, my hyper children will eventually display self-control.
I have the duty of disciplining (i.e., training) my children. I have to train my child for life; they must learn how to treat their friends, future spouses, handle money, and live for God and be faithful to Him. All of God’s discipline for us is motivated by what is best for us (Hebrews 12:10). God never explodes at us because He is tired, or because we are human or because He is angry with someone else. However, the times I have gotten after my children because I was tired, angry at someone else, or just because they were acting like kids has happened too often. I am learning that all the disciplining of my children should be done for their benefit. I must learn to let love be my motive in all the “training” that I do with my children (Hebrews 12:6).
I, the parent, am the management tool. I refuse to pass that job off to a drug The world may say that children are an inconvenience, but God says they are a blessing. This means I must put aside my selfishness and allow myself to be inconvenienced. Parenting is a patience building exercise. God put that wiggle in them and I will never be able to take it out of them. I must help them learn to channel their energy in a positive direction. Loving discipline consistently applied by loving parents will always be more effective in raising kids than any drug.
-Kevin R. Jones pastors the Cornerstone Tabernacle UPC of Port Angeles, WA